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Italy's deputy premier says Alitalia ideal partner not necessarily European

Milan (Thomson Financial) - Alitalia SpA's ideal partner is

not necessarily European, Italy's deputy premier and foreign minister Massimo

D'Alema said in an interview with Il Sole 24 Ore.

"If we had to play the game of searching for the ideal partner, it might not necessarily be European," D'Alema said.

In a separate unsourced report, the daily Finanza e Mercati said that with Air France-KLM reportedly preparing an offer for Iberia, Lufthansa and Italy's Air One could be frontrunners to buy the ailing Italian airline.

Lufthansa, which is already a partner of Air One, could decide to buy Alitalia in order not to lose ground on Air France, F&M said.